29 Jul, 2009 Leaving The Falls

Heli dropped in to inform that they had just spotted a mama grizzly and 2 cubs about 4kms away and suggested we keep a close eye out. The field work they were doing meant that they were flying by a couple times a day, and it was a big comfort to have those eyes in the sky looking out for us as they passed by. We had bear bangers, bear spray, a sat phone and such, but were really not wanting a personal visit from these creatures. Though humans aren’t on the menu for these bears, they actually eat mostly plant stuff like roots and berries with some ground squirrels mixed in, encounters can occasionally go wrong. Aside from the implications of that possibility, it would also mean cutting my stay here at Wilberforce Falls, something I really didn’t want to have happen. I still have paintings to do!

With a watchful eye, Max and I headed back towards the canyon, this time heading down river where I had spotted a location last evening. Wasn’t sure how it would work out as the morning sun had been swallowed up my cloud cover. The walls and spires of the canyon were now blending together in the soft light. But I liked to composition and decide to go ahead anyway. As has often happened in the past, my commitment to go for it was rewarded as I painted. Over the next couple of hours, the sun struggled to poke through now and then, catching the scene that I was painting. I feverishly worked at it, trying to catch some of the fleeting light and reveling in the colour it brought out in the rock. Then it was time go. The chopper was coming to pick us up to take us back to the lodge and we still had to break camp.

It was a short trip, about 2 full days when added up, but spectacular, exhausting and better than I expected. As has become customary on this trek when returning from the field, I spent the evening back at the cabin backing up our digital harvest and finally turned in at about 3am.

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